Dallas Cowboys: Preston Pearson

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Several current and former Dallas Cowboys players gathered Sunday night at the Gaylord Texas to support the Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Cowboys Tailgate Party.

But this wasn't any normal party. Proceeds from the event went to the North Texas Food Bank. The Cowboys have raised more than $1 million and more than four million meals for needy families in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The event was hosted by DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher.

"This means a lot," Hatcher said. "I've heard about this event in the eight years since I’ve been in the league. It’s one of those things I can relate to. I was one of those kids who would leave school in the summer and say, 'Man, I can’t get two meals.' That’s why I’m here today. I’ll put any time and effort I got into a situation like this I can relate to."

Among the current and former Cowboys in attendance: Nate Livings, Caleb McSurdy, Brandon Carr, Rob Callaway, Tony Casillas, Nate Newton, Preston Pearson and Daryl Johnston.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and secondary coach Jerome Henderson also supported the event.

Family, friends say goodbye to Coach Joe

April, 17, 2012
FLOWER MOUND, Texas – The Cowboys said their goodbyes to their former special teams coach, Joe Avezzano, who passed away from a heart attack April 5 in Milan, Italy.

Among those in attendance at Tuesday's service were owner and general manager Jerry Jones, Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith and Jason Garrett, Norv Turner, Jackie Sherrill and R.C. Slocum. Players from all of the Cowboys’ eras showed up, including Preston Pearson, Bill Bates, Russell Maryland, Darren Woodson, Dexter Coakley and Randal Williams.

Current Cowboys assistants Joe DeCamillis, Skip Peete and Chris Boniol, who also played for Avezzano, were in attendance. Former Cowboys assistants Robert Ford and Tony Wise were also on hand, as were any behind-the-scenes co-workers.

A crowd of roughly 200 attended the hour-long ceremony at Trietsch United Methodist Church and were treated to moving eulogies from Brad Sham, the radio voice of the Cowboys, and Avezzano’s son, Tony.

Avezzano, 68, died while working out on a treadmill. He had been in Italy coaching the Milan Seamen of the Italian Football League.

He helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins in the 1990s, staying with the team from 1990-2002. He became the first coach of the Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League before returning to the NFL with Turner in Oakland.